Mar 19, 2012

Blog Tour: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

Title: The Slippery Art of Book Reviwing
Author: Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards
Publisher: Twilight Times Books               
Publish Date: 15 June 2008
Pages:  188
ISBN: 978-1-933353-22-7
Source: blog tour
Genre:educational, reference
Series: n/a

Are you passionate about books? Do you have the desire to share your thoughts about a book with readers, yet are unsure about what makes a good review? Are you curious about the influence reviews have on readers, booksellers, and librarians?
If you’re an experienced reviewer, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will serve as an excellent reference tool and amalgam of resources. If you’re a beginner, this book will show you how to write a well-written, honest, objective and professional book review. It will also teach you:
·         How to read critically
·         How to differentiate the various types of reviews
·         How to rate books
·         How to prevent amateurish mistakes
·         How to deal with the ethics and legalities of reviewing
·         How to tell the difference between a review, a book report, and a critique
·         How to start your own review site
·         How to publish your reviews on dozens of sites and even make money while you’re at it, and much more

When I was first sent the e-mail to review this book, I was excited because it sounded like it would be an educational book and I would learn something about how I review books.  Granted, that DID happen.  What I didn’t expect was that I wouldn’t know HOW to review it.  I don’t normally review educational material, so I will tell you what I thought of it and give you some of what it in the book.  This has been the most difficult review I have had to write because I cannot give away too many pearls.

While reading, I took some notes on some things that I wanted to start doing in my reviews. I hope to incorporate them sometime this year.  It was very instructional and went over the differences between a review and a book report.  I will say that when I started this blog, my reviews would fall into the “book report” pile, but thankfully, my “voice” has grown and now I feel that my reviews would fall into a review category.   I learned what NOT to do in a review also.  Some of the points they made are things that I set when I first started this blog, so that made me feel good about it.

Aside from those things, this book also tells you five keys to being a good reviewer. I think everyone needs to go over these to ensure that their reviews are putting forth the image that they want to represent.  Some of the other things that The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing goes over are: how to write a book review; rating books; types of reviews; what to do if a book is terrible; and when to post your reviews.  Other than that, there are resources that helpful to reviewers of all kinds and examples of reviews to help you learn the principles that they are teaching.

Overall, this book has educated me on the process needed for well-written, thought-provoking reviews.  I am sure that I will be using this book as a reference as needed.  There is an excerpt on the blog for this book.  It not only included the preface to the book, but also a partial table of contents.  I encourage everyone to check it out!

I like how the design of this cover incorporates a book and then outlines the words in the title of the book.  I felt that this cover is fitting for this book because it deals with pulling information out of books and putting them into reviews.

Mayra Calvani
  1. Thou shall have no other gods before the reader. The review is not about the author, nor the publisher, and especially, not about you, the reviewer. Reviews are all about the reader. Don’t try to impress with pompous words in an attempt to glorify yourself or appear scholarly. Give readers simplicity and clarity. They’ll appreciate it. If they want verbose and fancy, they can read Shakespeare.

  1. Thou shall not lie. Honesty is what defines your trade. Without it, you’re doing nothing but selling copy. When you give facile praise or sugar-coat a book, sooner or later readers will take you for what you are: a phony.

  1. Thou shall try not to offend the author. Just as honesty is important, so is tact. There’s no need to be harsh or mean. A tactfully written, well-meant negative review should offer the author insight into what is wrong with the book. Instead of saying, “This is a terrible novel!” say, “This book didn’t work for me for the following reasons…”

  1. Thou shall not eat the evaluation. Some fledgling reviewers write a long blurb of the book and leave out the evaluation. The evaluation is the most important part of a review. A summary of the plot is not an evaluation. Saying, “I really liked this book” is not an evaluation. The evaluation tells the reader what is good and bad about the book, and whether or not it is worth buying.

  1. Thou shall not reveal spoilers. Nobody likes to be told the ending of a movie before having watched it. The same thing is valid for a book. If you give spoilers in your review, not only do you lessen the reader’s reading experience but you also risk being sued by the publisher or author.

  1. Thou shall honor grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Don’t be one of those reviewers who are more in love with the idea of seeing their name online than making sure their reviews are well-written and thorough. Your reviews may hang around on the internet for years to come and will reflect on your level as a writer. Run a spell check, edit, revise, and polish your review, as if you were posting a short story. Get a good book on grammar, and punctuation, take an online course or listen regularly to podcasts such as The Grammar Girl.

  1. Thou shall honor deadlines. If you join a review site where the turnaround for reviews is 3 weeks, then you should respect that agreement. If you promise the author to have the review ready in two months, you should honor this too. Be honest and straight forward from the beginning. If you’re so busy your turnaround is six months, make sure to let the person know. If for any reasons you cannot meet the deadline, contact the person and let him know. It’s your responsibility to maintain a do-able schedule.

  1. Thou shall not be prejudiced against thy neighbor. Don’t assume that a self-published or small press book is poorly written. Give it a fair chance and let it speak for itself. Likewise, never assume a book published by a major NY house has to be good. You’d be surprised by the high quality of some small press books by unknown authors, as opposed to those written by big name authors whose titles are often in the bestseller lists. In general, most subsidy books are mediocre, but there are always exceptions. If you’ve had bad experiences with subsidy books, then don’t request them nor accept them for review. If you decide to review one, though, don’t be biased and give it a fair chance.

  1. Thou shall not become an RC addict. RC stands for Review Copy. Requesting RCs can get out of control. In fact, it can become addictive. You should be realistic about how many books you can review. If you don’t, pretty soon you’ll be drowning in more RCs than you can handle. When this happens, reading and reviewing can change from a fun, pleasurable experience into a stressful one. If you’re feeling frazzled because you have a tower of books waiting to be reviewed, learn to say NO when someone approaches you for a review and stop requesting RCs for a while. Unless you’re being paid as a staff reviewer for a newspaper or magazine, reviewing shouldn’t get in the way of your daily life.

  1. Thou shall honor thy commitment. Remember that any books you’ve agreed to review beforehand are being sent to you in exchange for a review. If your policy is not to review every book you receive, state it clearly on your blog or site so the author or publisher will know what to expect. If you have agreed to review a book, but have a valid reason for not reviewing it, let the review site editor, author, publisher, or publicist know.

 During this one-day blog tour blitz, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will be on sale for $2.99 from these retailers:

1 comment:

I would love to hear what you think about my reviews. Please leave a link to let me know who you are!